Massive campaign to defend 5 jewish terrorists accused of stoning to death Palestinian mother of nine

Massive campaign to defend Israeli religious students accused of killing Palestinian mother of nine

Jean Shaoul — WSWS Jan 14, 2019

Demonstrations against the detention of the five Israeli Yeshiva students accused of murder. Click to enlarge

Demonstration against the detention of the five Israeli Yeshiva students accused of murder. Click to enlarge

Far-right and ultra-Orthodox groups have created a media storm over the arrest of five Jewish youths on suspicion of carrying out “serious terror offenses,” including the killing of a Palestinian woman last October.

The defence of the accused is being used to stoke nationalist tensions in the run-up to the general election on April 9, and to shift Israeli politics further to the right. All the mainstream parties are complicit.

The five boys, students at the Pri Ha’aretz yeshiva (religious seminary) in the Rehelim settlement in the occupied West Bank, are accused of the stone-throwing attack on a Palestinian car October 12 that killed Aisha Mohammed Rabi, 47, a mother of nine, and injured her husband, Yacoub.

The past year saw a threefold increase in racist attacks on Palestinians over 2017, with 482 politically motivated crimes by Jews reported in the West Bank. These included beating and throwing stones at Palestinians, painting nationalist, anti-Arab or anti-Muslim slogans, damaging homes and cars, and cutting down trees belonging to Palestinian farmers.

The murder and its aftermath highlight the utter lawlessness and racism inherent in the Greater Israel project from which the settler movement stems. Speaking to Ha’aretz after the attack, Yacoub Rabi said, “I don’t have any doubt it was the settlers. There were six or seven of them, and it was clear that they were young.”

As is common in such stoning attacks, the police dragged their feet over their investigation, to the extent that few believed any action would be taken.

According to the public broadcaster Kan, the day after the stoning attack, settlers from Yitzhar broke with the strict religious rule of not driving on the Sabbath and traveled to the Rehelim yeshiva. One of those in the car was reportedly Meir Ettinger, a grandson of the extremist Rabbi Meir Kahane, whom the Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic intelligence agency, has accused of being a ringleader of an underground group that spawned the racist filth legitimising attacks on Palestinians.

In 2015, Ettinger spent time in administrative detention, which enables the state to order someone’s arrest without informing the detainee of the reason or providing any evidence of wrongdoing, and to detain him for unspecified periods and interrogate him without lawyers in attendance. Administrative detention orders are routinely used against Palestinians, but rarely against Jewish Israelis.

Ettinger’s arrest followed attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank and churches and mosques in Israel by right-wing Jewish extremists, including the torching of a Palestinian family in the West Bank village of Duma, which killed an 18-month-old baby.

The use of administrative detention orders under the pretext of combating militant Jewish nationalists facilitated the introduction of such methods as part of the build-up of repressive measures to be used against the working class.

On October 13, Ettinger and his companions went to the Rehelim yeshiva to brief the assailants before any investigation, arrest or interrogation, and thereby prevent them revealing the details of the stoning attack.

Two weeks ago, Shin Bet, not the police, arrested three of the suspects on suspicion of murder. They also arrested two others who were taking part in a protest in support of the alleged assailants. A gag order was imposed on the media to prevent any reporting on the details of the investigation, and the youths were banned from seeing their lawyers, the far right activist Itamar Ben Gvir and Nati Rom and Adi Kedar of the Honenu NGO, which provides legal aid to Jewish activists suspected of terrorist attacks.

The police also called all the yeshiva students in for questioning after entering the seminary amid claims from the staff that they did not have a search warrant. By last Thursday, 30 students had been questioned.

The settlers and their supporters, including religious leaders and the suspects’ lawyers, issued statements condemning the arrests and organizing protests outside the homes of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other cabinet members, and later demonstrations outside the court proceedings. Neither Netanyahu nor any member of his cabinet had condemned the attack or demanded that those responsible be brought to justice. Rather, they actively encouraged the protests over the arrests and the investigation.

Following an appeal by one of the families over lack of access to lawyers, Ayelet Shaked, justice minister and leader, along with Naftali Bennett, of the newly formed New Right Party, called the mother of one of boys to say that she had discussed his case with State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan and urged the mother to “stay strong.”

A week after the youths were taken into custody, they were permitted to meet with their lawyers, who claimed the boys were innocent and accused Shin Bet interrogators of “severe manipulation” and causing “serious trauma.”

The Shin Bet was also forced to lift the gag order on part of the case. In response, it issued statements that it had discovered an Israeli flag with a swastika and “Death to Zionists” scrawled on it in the room of one of the suspects, who were now described as radical anti-Zionists. The lawyer for the five youths, Itamar Ben-Gvir, described this as “a spin” by Shin Bet, stating that there was “no real evidence” against his clients who “are good kids that love the State of Israel.”

On Thursday, a judge ruled that four of the suspects should be released and subject to house arrest, while the fifth should be kept in detention because of the nature of the allegations, the evidence against him and concerns over obstruction of justice.

The Shin Bet claimed that it had respected all the suspects’ rights under law, saying, “Claims of their denial are baseless and aim at diverting the discourse from the serious suspicions for which they were detained and at bringing the service in disrepute.”

The increase in violence and murderous attacks on Palestinians are bound up with the encouragement of all forms of extreme nationalism by Israel’s fascistic settler parties, which sit in Netanyahu’s government, as well as from recently elected municipal leaders. As the World Socialist Web Site explained in its statement on January 3: “The ultra-rightwing government of Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel is establishing the closest relations with extreme rightwing regimes and parties throughout the world. These alliances reflect the growing strength of fascist forces within Israel itself.”

The WSWS drew attention to a column in the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz on December 31, by the Israeli human rights lawyer Michael Sfard, who warned:

“We have to face reality. We are witnessing the flourishing of a Jewish Ku Klux Klan movement. Like its American counterpart, the Jewish version also drinks from the polluted springs of religious fanaticism and separatism, only replacing the Christian iconography with its Jewish equivalent. Like white racism’s modus operandi, this Jewish racism is also based on fear mongering and violence against its equivalent of Blacks—the Palestinians.”

Such obnoxious and abhorrent phenomena mirror similar trends internationally and demonstrate the bankruptcy and reactionary dead-end of the entire Zionist project.

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After years of speculation, IDF chief admits israel (apartheid state) supplied Syrian terrorists with weapons

After years of speculation, IDF chief admits Israel supplied Syrian rebels with weapons

After years of speculation, IDF chief admits Israel supplied Syrian rebels with weapons

RT | January 15, 2019

The outgoing IDF chief of staff has spilled the beans on a poorly guarded secret of the Israeli military, that it has supplied Syrian rebels fighting President Bashar Assad’s government with weapons “for self-defense.”

Gadi Eisenkot, who was the Israeli Defense Forces’ Chief of Staff for the last three years, told the Sunday Times in a farewell interview that Israel had been directly involved in the Syrian conflict on the side of the Syrian rebels, something that Tel Aviv has been reluctant to acknowledge before.

The general, who is retiring from military service, said that Israel supplied rebels at the border with light weapons for the purposes of “self-defense.”

While the direct links between Syrian rebels and Israeli commanders have been officially revealed for the first time, rumors of close military ties between the armed militants and the Israeli government have been circulating for years.

Foreign Policy magazine reported in September that Israel supplied weapons and gave money to at least 12 rebel groups holed up in southern Syria. The arrangement reportedly included Israeli officials also giving $75-per-person monthly allowances to rebel fighters, in addition to the funds their leaders received to procure weapons on the black market.

In return, rebels were expected to deter Hezbollah and Iran proxies from the Israeli-occupied part of the Golan Heights.

The scheme was reportedly in effect throughout Operation Good Neighbor, which officially kicked off in June 2016 and was wrapped up only last November. Within this undertaking, Israel was openly assisting the rebels but claimed that assistance was strictly humanitarian. Israel treated wounded Syrian rebels and their families in its hospitals, provided some 1,524 tons of food, 250 tons of clothes, 947,520 liters of fuel, as well as a huge amount of medical supplies.

However, until recently Israel kept vigorously denying any involvement beyond that. The Jerusalem Post’s report in September on the IDF confirming that it had provided light weapons to Syrian rebels was promptly pulled from its website. The newspaper told RT at the time that it was forced to remove the article by the army’s censor, apparently, “for security reasons.”

In November, Maj. Gen. Gershon Hacohen, a former senior commander with the IDF, revealed that former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon had personally met with a group of Syrian rebels, without specifying the time period. Ya’alon was Israel’s chief of defense from 2013 to May 2016.

The Israeli military seems to have finally begun to reveal the scope of its involvement in the Syrian conflict, previously shrouded in secrecy. In an interview with the New York Times, Eisenkot acknowledged that Israel has been waging a large-scale bombing campaign aimed at degrading Iran’s military influence in the region. In 2018 alone, the IDF dropped 2,000 bombs on alleged Iran-linked targets in Syria. Sorties into the neighboring country’s territory became“near-daily events” after PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s government greenlighted the expansion of the operation in January 2017, according to the retiring general.

Campaign to revoke Jewish National Fund charitable status important

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By Yves Engler · January 11, 2019

Last week the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), under pressure from Palestine solidarity activists, began an audit of the Jewish National Fund.

The audit is significant. Beyond weakening the oldest Israel-focused charity in the country, it will put other Israeli charities in Canada on notice and reflects the growth of Palestine solidarity activism.

Fulfilling the time-consuming audit will be a bureaucratic headache for a group that has eleven offices across Canada and has raised $100 million over the past five years. Already, the credibility of the second most powerful Israel-oriented charity in Canada has taken a hit with the CBC exposé headlined “Canadian charity  used donations to fund projects linked to Israeli military” and related  stories. If the CRA revokes the JNF’s charitable status it would be devastating for fundraising and deter politicians/celebrities from attending their events.

Similar to the JNF, other registered charities support the Israeli military in direct contravention of CRA rules. Additionally, some of these organizations — like the JNF — fund projects supporting West Bank settlements, which Global Affairs Canada considers in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

At a broader level, critical attention on the JNF could lead to questioning of why Canadian taxpayers subsidize hundreds of millions of dollars in donations to a wealthy country. Despite a GDP per capita greater than Spain or Italy (and equal to Japan), hundreds of registered Canadian charities deliver hundreds of millions of dollars a year to Israel. How many Canadian charities funnel money to Spain or Japan?

If the CRA revoked JNF’s charitable status it would boost Stop the JNF campaigns elsewhere. In England they convinced former Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron to withdraw as patron of the JNF (Theresa May seems to have also stayed away), and 68 members of parliament endorsed a bill to revoke the organization’s charitable status because “the JNF’s constitution is explicitly discriminatory by stating that land and property will never be rented, leased or sold to non-Jews.”

The CRA audit of a charity that’s found favour with numerous Canadian prime ministers is long in the making and reflects the growth of Palestinian solidarity consciousness. Born in a West Bank village demolished to make way for the JNF’s Canada Park, Ismail Zayid has been complaining to the CRA about its charitable status for 40 years. Lebanese Canadian Ron Saba “has been indefatigable over the years in writing to various Canadian government departments and officials, corporations, and media to rescind tax exemption status and endorsement of” what he calls the “racist JNF tax fraud”. During the Liberal party convention in 2006 Saba was widely smeared for drawing attention to leadership candidate Bob Rae’s ties to the JNF. Saba has put in multiple Access to Information requests regarding the JNF, demonstrating government spying of its critics and long-standing knowledge of the organization’s dubious practices. Under the headline “Event you may want to monitor,” Foreign Affairs spokesperson Caitlin Workman sent the CRA a communication about a 2011 Independent Jewish Voices event in Ottawa stating: “author of the Black Book of Canadian Foreign Policy, Yves Engler, will give a talk on Canada and the Jewish National Fund.”

Former Independent Jewish Voices coordinator Tyler Levitan was smeared for working diligently on the issue. In addition to important organizing, he discovered that the Ottawa Citizen sponsored JNF galas they covered and, suggesting a formal financial relationship, ran an ad for the JNF’s 2013 Ottawa Gala the day after the event.

At the Green Party convention in 2016 Corey Levine pushed a resolution to revoke the JNF’s charitable status because it practices “institutional  discrimination against non-Jewish citizens of Israel.” The effort brought the issue into the mainstream though she, IJV and the entire Green  Party were smeared  as “hard core  Jew haters” for even considering the resolution.

Fifteen months ago IJV and four individuals filed a detailed complaint to the CRA and Minister of National Revenue over the JNF. For a number of years IJV has run a “Stop the JNF” campaign and for more than a decade activists across the country have picketed local JNF fundraising galas. These efforts have benefited from many in Palestine/Israel, notably the work of Uri Davies and Adalah.

As I have written before, the campaign to revoke the JNF’s charitable status is important beyond winning the specific demand. It draws attention to the racism intrinsic to Zionism and highlights Canada’s contribution to Palestinian dispossession.

The CRA is undoubtedly facing significant behind-the-scenes pressure to let the JNF off with little more than a slap on the wrists. So, it’s important that people send their MP  the CBC exposé and add their name to Independent Jewish Voices’ campaign  to revoke the Jewish National Fund’s charitable status.

israel (apartheid state) Seeks $250 Billion Compensation Related to Stealing Historic Palestine

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By Stephen Lendman,

The Jewish state gives chutzpah new meaning. It seeks $250 billion from seven Arab states and Iran in connection to its theft of historic Palestine – one of history’s great crimes.

It took 78% in 1948, the Palestinian Nakba, the remainder in June 1967, including the West Bank, Gaza, and Jerusalem, the UN-declared international city, illegally occupied by Israel, illegally declared its exclusive capital.

David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, set the tone during the Nakba for what followed, saying “(e)very attack has to end with occupation, destruction and expulsion” – forcefully eliminating resistance, assuring Israeli control over historic Palestine.

According to Israeli Hadashot TV news, Israel demands Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Morocco, Syria Tunisia and Yemen correct what it calls a “historic injustice” – a colossal perversion of truth.

It’s reinventing history, blaming countries it attacked and other regional ones for its illegal 1948 and 1967 land grabs – demanding they compensate Jews for the loss of property, assets and other possessions they left behind in Arab countries because of war the Jewish state waged against neighboring ones.

What Ilan Pappe described as “the ethnic cleaning of Palestine in 1948,” Edward Said called its “holocaust,” saying:

“Every human calamity is different, but there is value in seeing analogies and perhaps hidden similarities.” He called Nazi extermination “the lowest point of (Jewish) collective existence.”

Occupied Palestinians “are as powerless as Jews were” under Hitler, devastated by “power used for evil purposes” subjugating them, denying their fundamental rights – compensation due to THEM from the Jewish state, NOT the other way around, NOT from countries harmed by Israeli high crimes, ongoing endlessly with full support and encouragement from the US and West.

Israel’s claim for $250 billion in compensation from other countries would be laughable if the high crimes leading to its creation and throughout its existence weren’t so serious – as pure evil as what Nazis did to Jews.

The Nakba was one of history’s great crimes, state terror on a massive scale against an entire population.

Israel’s 1948 war without mercy depopulated Palestinian cities, towns and villages, massacring innocent victims, raping their women, committing other atrocities – notably burning, bulldozing, blowing up, or stealing homes, property and other possessions, dispossessing around 800,000 Palestinians, preventing them from returning home.

Israel’s 1967 six-day war was planned “16 years in advance,” according to IDF general Mordechai Hod, saying “(w)e lived with the plan. We slept on the plan. We ate the plan. Constantly we perfected it.”

It was all about stealing the remaining 22% of historic Palestine not taken in 1948, including East Jerusalem.

It had nothing to do with self-defense to avoid annihilation, the falsified claim at the time – later debunked by PM Menachem Begin and IDF generals, admitting Israel faced no threats from Arab states.

General Haim Barlev later said

“(w)e were not threatened with genocide on the eve of the six-day war, and we had never thought of such a possibility.”

The world community did nothing to intervene against Israeli aggression, nor at any time throughout the Jewish state’s existence.

Militarism, institutionalized racism, and apartheid rule define the state of Israel, its young (male and female) children indoctrinated to be warriors.

Militarized education begins in kindergarten, at home, and in all other aspects of society – the line between military and civil society blurred.

Children are taught to believe Palestinians must be subjugated, violence against them is OK, along with destroying their property and killing them – notions ingrained in developing minds before they’re able to understand how they’re manipulated.

They’re taught to believe Arabs are inferior and Palestinians are enemies, military service essential, wars and other forms of violence natural, peace unattainable.

The history of the Jewish state isn’t pretty. Over half a century of illegal occupation continues. Israel aims to steal all valued parts of Judea and Samaria.

Its plan calls for confining Palestinians in isolated cantons on worthless scrubland, militarized rule controlling virtually all aspects of their lives, endless war against them continuing without declaring it.

The world community remains dismissive about what’s been going on for decades. The lives, rights and welfare of millions of Palestinians don’t matter.

Israeli law demands any no-peace/peace deal with Palestinians must compensate the Jewish exodus from Arab countries as explained above.

Palestinians are the aggrieved, not Jews. They warrant major compensation for Israel’s theft of their homeland, private property, and other possessions – along with damages for loss of their fundamental rights, illegal occupation, and brutalized treatment.

For over half a century, Palestinians have endured institutionalized Israeli persecution with no power over their daily lives, along with virtually every imaginable form of indignity.

Living under brutalizing occupation, they face daily state terror, economic strangulation, collective punishment, denial of their fundamental rights affirmed under international law, arrest and imprisonment without just cause, torture, assassinations, bulldozing of their home, crops and orchards, along with daily assaults on their dignity for being Arabs in a Jewish state.

With no power to resist, they’re denied redress in international tribunals dismissive of their rights. Endless misery defines their daily lives.

THEY deserve compensation for over half a century of conflict, illegal occupation, dispossession, and forever immiseration, no end of it in sight – no justice unless and until their suffering ends, their fundamental rights restored.

The history of Occupied Palestine is the triumph of wrong over right, a festering injustice, an entire people harmed, no end to their suffering in sight, no interest in their rights and welfare by the world community.

Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Featured image: Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli troops during a protest to show solidarity with Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike, Nabi Saleh, West Bank, April 21, 2017. (Flash90)

israeli (apartheid state) Forces Open Fire at School Students in Nablus

Israeli Forces Open Fire at School Students in Nablus

Jewish settlers routinely open fire near schools in the West Bank. (Photo: File)

Israeli soldiers opened live fire and tear-gas bombs targeting Palestinian students who were leaving their school in the northern occupied West Bank village of Tell in Nablus, on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Palestinian security sources said Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian vehicles passing by the main Nablus-Qalqilya road near the illegal Jewish settlement of Yitzhar.

Israeli forces reportedly opened live fire at students of the Tell High School, showering them with tear-gas bombs as they left their school.

No injuries were reported.

Ghassan Daghlas, an official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, said that Jewish settlers threw rocks at Palestinian vehicles near the Yitzhar settlement, causing damages, and blocked the road near Yitzhar.

 

Palestinian towns and villages in the Nablus area are surrounded by Jewish settlements and outposts, many of which are protected by the Israeli military and have gained notoriety for being comprised of the most extremist settlers.

Between 500,000 and 600,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in violation of international law, with recent announcements of settlement expansion provoking condemnation from the international community.

Fired School Employee Sues Over israel (apartheid state) Loyalty Oath

Fired School Employee Sues Over Israel Loyalty Oath

A Texas school employee has sued her school district because it fired her after she refused to sign a loyalty oath to Israel, as Marjorie Cohn reports.

By Marjorie Cohn
Truthout

In a return to the bad old days of McCarthyism, Bahia Amawi, a U.S. citizen of Palestinian descent, lost her Texas elementary school job after refusing to pledge in writing that she would not participate in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Earlier this month, Amawi sued the school district that fired her.

The BDS movement against Israel has become a hot button issue in the closing month of 2018. A bipartisan group of senators tried to attach the Israel Anti-Boycott Act to the unanimous spending bill that Trump almost signed to avoid the current government shutdown. Meanwhile, Donorbox, a US software company, blocked the BDS fundraising account at the behest of a pro-Israel group.

“The language of the affirmation Amawi was told she must sign reads like Orwellian – or McCarthyite – self-parody, the classic political loyalty oath that every American should instinctively shudder upon reading,” Glenn Greenwald wrote at The Intercept.

Amwai: Knows firsthand oppression. (DemocracyNow/YouTube)

On Dec. 12, the Council on American-Islamic Relations filed a lawsuit on Amawi’s behalf in the US District Court for the Western District of Texas against Pflugerville Independent School District, alleging that Texas’ law requiring the oath violates the First Amendment. Amawi’s complaint says the law constitutes an impermissible attempt “to impose an ideological litmus test or compel speech related to government contractors’ political beliefs, associations, and expressions.”

Amawi had contracted with the school district for nine years to work with students with autism and developmental disabilities in Austin. This fall, for the first time, Amawi was required to sign an oath that she would not boycott Israel. When she refused to sign it, she was fired.

“The point of boycotting any product that supports Israel is to put pressure on the Israeli government to change its treatment, the inhumane treatment, of the Palestinian people,” Amawi explained. “Having grown up as a Palestinian, I know firsthand the oppression and the struggle that Palestinians face on a daily basis.”

BDS

The BDS movement was launched by representatives of Palestinian civil society in 2005, calling upon “international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era … [including] embargoes and sanctions against Israel.”

This call specified that “these non-violent punitive measures” should last until Israel fully complies with international law by (1) ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the barrier wall; (2) recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and (3) respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their land as stipulated in United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194.

Even though it is a nonviolent movement, Israel sees BDS as a threat to its hegemony over the Palestinians. Israel illegally occupies Palestinian territories, maintaining effective control over Gaza’s land, airspace, seaport, electricity, water, telecommunications and population registry. Israel deprives Gazans of food, medicine, fuel and basic services, and continues to build illegal Jewish-only settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Vikomerson: No progress without pressure on Israel. (Twitter)

“There will not be progress toward a just peace without pressure on Israel to respect Palestinian rights,” said Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace. “Bringing about that pressure, through a global grassroots mobilization, is exactly what BDS is about.”

After Amawi’s firing, The New York Times editorial board wrote,

“It’s not just Israel’s adversaries who find the [BDS] movement appealing. Many devoted supporters of Israel, including many American Jews, oppose the occupation of the West Bank and refuse to buy products of the settlements in occupied territories. Their right to protest in this way must be vigorously defended.”

Omar Barghouti, co-founder of BDS, said in an email to The New York Times, “Having lost many battles for hearts and minds at the grass-roots level, Israel has adopted since 2014 a new strategy to criminalize support for BDS from the top” in order to “shield Israel from accountability.”

Barghouti called Shurat HaDin, the group behind the Donorbox action blocking the BDS account, a “repressive organization with clear connections to the far-right Israeli government” that is “engaging in McCarthyite … tactics … in a desperate attempt to undermine our ability to challenge Israel’s regime of apartheid and oppression.”

Twenty-six U.S. states have anti-BDS laws and 13 others are pending. The Israel Anti-Boycott Act, which would have to be reintroduced when the new Congress convenes in January, was supported by Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and Dianne Feinstein (D-California) opposed the bill.

Boycotts’ 1st Amendment Protection

The law that triggered Amawi’s firing prohibits the State of Texas from entering into government contracts with companies, including sole proprietorships, that boycott Israel. It defines “boycott Israel” to include “refusing to deal with, terminating business activities with, or otherwise taking any action that is intended to penalize, inflict harm on, or limit commercial relations specifically with Israel, or with a person or entity doing business in Israel or in an Israeli-controlled territory.”

Boycotts are a constitutionally protected form of speech, assembly and association. They have long been used to oppose injustice and urge political change. The Supreme Court has held that “speech on public issues occupies the highest rung of the hierarchy of First Amendment values, and is entitled to special protection.” The high court ruled that advocating and supporting boycotts “to bring about political, social, and economic change” – like boycotts of Israel – are indisputably protected by the First Amendment.

The National Lawyers Guild, Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights wrote in a legal memorandum challenging anti-BDS legislation in New York that such laws “harken back to the McCarthy era when the state sought to deny the right to earn a livelihood to those who express controversial political views.” The memo says, “The courts long ago found such McCarthy-era legislation to be at war with the First Amendment,” as they “unconstitutionally target core political speech activities and infringe on the freedom to express political beliefs.”

Barghouti: McCarthyite tactics.  (YouTube/BBC)

Even staff members at the right-wing Anti-Defamation League (ADL) opposed anti-BDS laws and admitted they are unconstitutional. Although the leadership officially favors outlawing BDS, ADL staff wrote in an internal 2016 memo that anti-BDS laws divert “community resources to an ineffective, unworkable, and unconstitutional endeavor.”

Greenwald cited the grave danger anti-BDS laws pose to freedom of speech, tweeting, “The proliferation of these laws – where US citizens are barred from work or contracts unless they vow not to boycott Israel – is the single greatest free speech threat in the US.”

Demonstrating the incongruity of allowing Amawi to boycott any entity but Israel, Greenwald noted, “In order to continue to work, Amawi would be perfectly free to engage in any political activism against her own country, participate in an economic boycott of any state or city within the US, or work against the policies of any other government in the world — except Israel.”

The US government remains Israel’s lap dog on the world stage. On December 5 the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling for an end to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories. The United States opposed the resolution.

Meanwhile, the BDS movement continues to achieve victories. After more than 24,000 people complained to HSBC, the banking giant pulled out its investments in Israeli arms company Elbit Systems. Elbit sells military equipment, including drones, aircraft, artillery and weapon control systems to the Israeli army, US Air Force and British Royal Air Force. It also provides surveillance equipment to the US Customs and Border Protection agency.

On the legal front, the ACLU has mounted successful court challenges to anti-BDS laws in Kansas and Arizona and has filed litigation in Arkansas and Texas.

Copyright Truthout. Reprinted with permission.

Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former president of the National Lawyers Guild, deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and an advisory board member of Veterans for Peace. Her latest book, Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues, was recently published in an updated second edition.

Report: israel (apartheid state) Tried to Trick Syria Into Shooting Down Civilian Airliners In Christmas Day Attack

Report: Israel Tried to Trick Syria Into Shooting Down Civilian Airliners In Christmas Day Attack
Chris Menahan
Information Liberation

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Israel may have tried to trick Syria into shooting down two civilian airplanes with their latest airstrike carried out on Christmas Day, according to report released Wednesday.

From South Front:

The Israeli Air Force (IAF) carried out its recent airstrikes in Syria when two civilians planes were landing in Beirut and Damascus, putting passengers at risk, Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense (MoD) of Russia told reporters on December 26.

“Provocative acts by the Israeli Air Force endangered two passenger jets when six of their F-16s carried out airstrikes on Syria from Lebanese airspace,” RT quoted the spokesman as saying.

According to Konashenkov, the Syrian Arab Air Defense Forces (SyAADF) delayed the deployment of surface-to-air missiles and electronic jamming “to prevent a tragedy.” Meanwhile, the Damascus air traffic control diverted one of the passenger jets to a reserve airport in Khmeimim in southern Lattakia.

Konashenkov said that 6 Israeli F-16 warplanes used 16 US-made GPS-guided GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs (SDBs) in the attack, which occurred at the late hours of December 25. Only 2 SDBs managed to hit their targets, while the rest were intercepted by the SyAADF.

Israeli media claimed that Israeli warplanes struck a shipment of Iranian-made Fajir-5 rockets, which was on its way to Hezbollah. However, the Ministry of Defense of Syria said that the “aggression” targeted an ammo depot of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) injuring three service members.

Last September, a Russian Il-20 plane was downed by Syrian air defense firewhen Israeli warplanes used it as a cover to strike targets on the Syrian coast. The recent airstrikes show that Israel is now using the same tactic with civilian planes, which endangers the flights not only over Syria, but also over Lebanon and Jordan.

If Syria had shot down two civilian planes on Christmas Day right after Trump announced he was pulling out of the country, the pressure to reverse his decision would have been tremendous.

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